Miami Heat Are Becoming Part Of A More Socially Conscious NBA

Trayvon Martin

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no denying that the Trayvon Martin trial was polarizing enough to vibrate across all axles and blur all lines between reality and sports. It was one of those cases that crashed the two worlds together in a major way.

That was evident when teams like the Miami Heat staged photo tributes to Martin with their heads bowed, hands tucked and bodies draped in hooded sweatshirts.

“We just feel like something needed to be done about it,” said Heat forward Udonis Haslem (via Espn.com) in March of last year. “It’s only right. It’s only fair. … I think it’s at least a start in the right direction.”

So it wasn’t surprising when players took to social media, yesterday, to do their part to speak up on the George Zimmerman not guilty verdict. It wasn’t on a Jim Brown, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Muhammad Ali level, but those few messages reached a few million fans far faster than a press conference ever would have.

All because most of these players have been looked at as suspects before. And for those who haven’t, they fear that their sons will be the ones stared at and stalked from the streets to the stores—like most of us have been in our lifetime.

That’s what makes this generation of stars different from that of Michael Jordan. They don’t seem to care if the politics of life screw up sneaker sales. Either that or they don’t believe that their stance can actually dull their star power.

Which is why Dwyane Wade can feel comfortable tweeting:

“Wow!!! Stunned!!! Saddened as a father!!! Some1 make sense of this verdict for me right now please!!! Don’t worry I’ll wait…”

Regardless of how they feel about the outcome, athletes are stepping up to make sure that their voices are heard and encouraging others to do the same.

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Richard Nurse is a Miami Heat columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @blackirishpr.

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